by Robert Earl Houston
1. It’s not as easy as it looks. Touch your neighbor and say “It’s not as easy as it looks.”
2. Studying proficient preachers will aid in becoming a proficient preacher. However, the goal is not to become a carbon copy because God has given you special gifts and talents and limitations.
3. Never judge a sermon that looks like it “missed it.” Sometimes the Holy Spirit will take the foolishness of preaching and use the sermon to change somebody’s life. Many a Sunday I’ve beaten myself up over a sermon to look on Facebook to see the words “Pastor preached . . .”
4. The first person to hear the sermon should always be yourself.
5. Never choose to preach a sermon based on a suggestion from a relative or a commercial on television or something that sounds pithy. Prayer and The Bible should be the first and primary stop in sermon preparation.
6. A good steak will make its own gravy. Never cook the gravy first and then try to find a steak to put under it. Do not get caught up in spending three days practicing your whoop and thirty minutes in sermon prep.
7. A sermon that ignores the cross is a sermon that ignores the hope that was provided for us in blood. Jesus Christ should be invited into every sermon as the guest of honor.
8. Stick to the text. Rabbit hunting season resulted in Elmer Fudd being injured and that may happen to the preacher.
9. An Associate Minister should not preach “pastoral sermons” – if your pastor is under attack, your sermon may not help him, but hurt him. It’s not your job to “straighten out the church” on behalf of the pastor.
10. Keep three sermons on you at all times – one in your head, one in your heart, and one in your pocket (iPhone, iPad).
This is not a criticism nor a critique. This is just a few words from someone who has been an Associate Minister and matriculated to a Senior Pastor over the course of 42 years. My desire as I knock on the door of 60 is to be a blessing to preachers and pastors, especially this next generation – which I believe will be THE critical generation to the Church.
by Robert Earl Houston
1. Never advertise where you’re going to preach. Some church members want to hear only their pastor.
2. Trust God in the process.
3. Never criticize or fight your or another pastor – it will come back to haunt you. And, it opens you to reap the same when (or if) you pastor.
4. Always have a sermon ready – you never know when you may have to preach on the spot.
5. Never enter another church’s pulpit without invitation from the Pastor. It’s better to be asked up than asked down.
6. Encourage your pastor and fellow associates.
7. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your time as an associate. The day may come when you wind up as a pastor and you’ll look back on the days when you sat under your pastor, etc.
8. Stick by your pastor. Repeat stick by your pastor.
9. Never end a sermon without expressing the hope and power of the crucifixion, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
10. Now is the time to start investing in your ministry. Instead of $800 gators on your feet, get Logos or Word Search. Instead of $1,500 to hang out in Vegas, use that money and go to IC3 or E.K. Bailey or other major conferences that will bless your ministry.
This is not a criticism nor a critique. This is just a few words from someone who has been an Associate Minister, an Interim Pastor, an Administrative Assistant, and a Senior Pastor. My desire as I knock on the door of 60 is to be a blessing to preachers and pastors, especially this next generation – which I believe will be THE critical generation to the Church.